RACHMANINOFF: Piano Concerto No. 1 in F-sharp minor, Op. 1. Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30. The Silver Sleigh Bells. Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 14
Daniil Trifonov, piano. Philadelphia Orchestra / Yannick Nézet-Séguin, cond.
DGG 00289 483 6617 TT: 81:55

SCHUBERT: Sonata in A, D 959. Minuet in A D 334. Menuet in E D 335. Minuet in C-sharp minor D 600.
Arcadi Volodos, iano
SONY 19075868292 TT: 56 min

BRAHMS: Fantasias, Op. 116. Intermezzos, Op. 117. Clavierstücke, Op. 118. Scherzo in E flat minor, Op. 4.
Garrick Ohlsson, piano

Three of today's titans of the keyboard are featured here. The amazing Russian Daniil Trifonov concludes his Rachmaninoff series with Yannickk Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra with this disk that offers Concertos 1 and 3, plus two solos. hese are The Silver Sleigh Bells from The Bells, and Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 14 both arranged for solo piano by Trifonov. There is the expected fire and virtuosity in both off the concertos. These are superb performances that will not disappoint Trifonov's admirers. I find the audio for the concertos disappointing. Both were recorded in Philadelphia's Kimmel Center, an acoustic challenge for engineers. The rich piano/ orchestra sound is somewhat veiled. Recently I listened to the near-definitive Rachmaninoff recordings made by Earl Wild with Horenstein and the Royal Philharmonic. Those recordings made in 1965 more than a half-century ago (!) sound better than this brand new digital revording. Trifonov deserves better engineering.

About two decades ago Russian pianist Arcadi Volodos dazzled the musical world, particularly with his blazing performance of Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 3 at the BBC Proms. As an encore on that occasion he astounded the audience with his transcription of Mozart's Turkish March which since then has been a virtuoso showcase for many pianists. I had the pleasure of meeting Volodos in 2001 when he came to Baltimore to perform Prokofiev's Concerto No 2 with the Baltimore Symphony. I found him to be a warm, friendly individual. There is a feature on this site about his visit to Baltimore (FEATURE). Volodos' career continues to flourish, but he has made surprisingly few recordings. His latest, this Schubert collection while not virtuoso showpieces, show him to be a profound, sensitive musician. The only disappointment here is the meager playing time, less than an hour.

In 1970 Garrick Ohlsson was the first - and only - American pianist to win first prize in the International Frederick Chopin competition. Since that time, his career has flourished, and he has made numerous recordings including all music of Chopin. Many of his recordings have been praised on this site. On this new disk he turns to Brahms and offers sterling, assured performances of the composer's late works, the seven Fantasies, Op. 116. the three Intermezzos, Op 117, and six Klaviestücke, Op 118. The program ending with one of Brahms' earliest works, Scherzo in E flat minor, Op. 4.
The recording was made in the warm acoustics of the Wayne Estate's Concert Hall at Monmouth University. Excellent audio. A major addition to the Ohlsson discography.

R.E.B. (December 2019)